In a joint initiative with leading housing association LiveWest, the residents of Bridgetown, community group Bridgetown Alive! as well as local and district Councilors, hedgehog protection signs have been installed throughout the town as part of a move to enhance the hedgehog population locally.
Charlotte Holdsworth, Community Connector at LiveWest said: “The people of Bridgetown are passionate about wildlife and their environment. This species is on the red list for British mammals and is now classed as vulnerable to extinction so needs our help. Hedgehog road signs help to remind drivers to be conscious of the presence of hedgehogs and all small mammals, with a view to reducing both the number of small mammal road deaths and injuries.”
She added: “It’s another exciting move for this community who strongly support our work towards protecting these beautiful creatures. Our customers can be very proud about the steps they are taking to protect the environment.”
The group have identified that there is a significant hedgehog population across Totnes including Bridgetown. This is supported by the South Devon Hedgehog hospital which receives injured hedgehogs and confirmed that a significant number are brought in from Totnes. Residents recently shared their concerns about the safety of the creatures, leading to a mapping exercise of Bridgetown helping to identify the streets where there are regular sightings, and the most appropriate locations to site road signs.
Councilor Jacqi Hodgson said: “I’ve been delighted to help out with installing these new Hedgehog signs in Bridgetown. LiveWest have certainly supported the residents and Bridgetown Alive! who have responded to the many residents who have become increasingly concerned about the fate of declining wildlife and in particular our dear little hedgehogs. I hope that these new signs will also help reduce traffic speeds, as that will make our streets safer as well as much more pleasant to walk, cycle and live in for humans too. I hope that more local parishes will follow suit.”
Councilor John Birch said: “Charlotte and LiveWest must be thanked for instigating this important initiative to help protect the hedgehog. Bridgetown is home for many hedgehogs, and they travel throughout the area looking for food and this involves crossing roads which places them in danger. Hopefully the signs that have been erected will remind drivers of the need to look out for these “residents” of Bridgetown.”
LiveWest provided over 200 wheelie bin stickers, a visual reminder to stick on wheelie bins that encourage traffic to slow.
People can find out more about hedgehog care locally through South Devon Hedgehog Hospital https://hedgehogsanctuary.co.uk/ and British hedgehog Preservation Society https://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/
Devon County Council’s Highways Department supported this initiative and gave permission for the signs to be put up. During the past months of lockdown, many people have taken to engaging with nature but for those without access to green spaces, communal garden areas and shared green spaces have been a blessing.
LiveWest plans to build more than 7,000 new homes over the next five years and will invest £2billion into the region over the next 10 years.
The protection and improvement of green spaces across its geography is part of its drive to build thriving communities.